David AlandeteSEGUIRCorresponsal in Washington Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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Has spent 26 long years, but the proposal to erect in Washington a great museum to honor the legacy of hispanic in the united States has finally been approved in the Capitol. The House of representatives passed on the 27th of July, by acclamation in addition, the creation of a National Museum of the American Latino , dedicated to the research, preservation and exhibition of samples of the contributions of hispanics to the forging of the nation, begun by the landing of Spanish in the continent in 1492. For its maintenance the Congress includes a minimum investment of $ 20 million per year . Now is that the Senate seconding the motion and the president ratifies.

Immediately, the which has been one of the biggest advocates of the construction of the Museum, Latino, democrat senator Bob Menendez , has been to seek support from both republicans and democrats. This senator regrets that the initiative has been delayed so much. “Today, almost one in every five americans is of hispanic descent , and however, this is something impossible to guess if one walks on the esplanade of the monuments in our capital. A long time ago that our country should have had a national museum dedicated to telling the rich and diverse history of latinos and latinas in its history,” he says. Admits that it will be a long job, but necessary “to educate current and future generations about the vast contributions to political, social, cultural and economic life of u.s. latinos”.

colonial Legacy and Spanish

This museum opens step right in the context of an intense debate on the legacy of colonial and Spanish in the U.S. The protest racial caused by the death of a black man in police custody caused the demolition of statues confederate first, and of conquistadors and Spanish missionaries after. Also have fallen or have been removed paintings and statues of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabel the Catholic . In Washington there are national museums devoted to african-american history, and native american, to the race aircraft and spacecraft, and even to asian art and modern.

anyway, the few that are opposed to the museum on the hill cited economic reasons and not ideological. The public museums national, which manages the Smithsonian Institute , are pending a few late renewals whose total estimated cost is 1,000 million dollars (850 million euros). And then, as in all projects of this type, there is the problem of cost overruns. The last national museum to be built in the federal capital, the black History , was going to cost 350 million and ended up surpassing the 555. At the moment there is an estimated cost of design and construction of the Museum’s Latin, something to be decided by a board of trustees and which will be added to the national budgets approved.

“A neglect willful”

The urgency to create a museum of this kind flies over the Capitol since 1994, the year in which a report of the Smithsonian Institute which had a descriptive title “A neglect willful” , said that “by their roots in native and Spanish heritage, latinos predate the arrival of british America.” “His contribution is important in every aspect of the history and culture of america. And even so, the Smithsonian Institute excludes and ignores hispanics in virtually all parts of its structure”. At that time hispanics were 10% of the population. Today it is 18%.

The deputy republican Jaime Herrera Beutler , California, made reference to these roots to spain to join the cause of the Museo Latino. She believes that the fact that you do not speak Spanish, despite the fact that their ancestors are mexican, is in part the result of this forget the hispanic heritage in the U.S. “my generation of hispanics is not transmitted to us, the Spanish, in part, because it was not popular. Most of us have had to learn it in the university, or in high school, which is good; but I’d like to institutionalize that sense of pride of passing on the language and preserve the culture, as it is an american culture; and what better opportunity would we have to highlight it in the most emblematic place of the US”.

To the deputy tejano Harry Cuellar , a democrat, that museum must have a good part dedicated to the undoubted influence of Spain in the history of the U.S. For him, this is clear, present even in the currency that today dominates the world economy. “If one wants to verify the impact that the Spanish culture has had in U.S. the only thing you have to do is look at the state symbols such as coats of arms, seals and flags, and you will see for example that Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Santa Fé, San Luis, San Diego, Baton Rouge, Riverside, Pensacola, Cupertino, and San Augustine share the same symbols,” he says. “When the Spanish explorers settled in the U.S., they brought with them the currencies you trade, or dollars Spanish, that the people of that area used daily”.

The hispanic electorate

In the tug of war between democrats and republicans, to achieve the greatest possible consensus, these last few have gotten in the act approved figure that the museum must remain a stranger to political races. “In the performance of its functions, the governing Board will ensure that the exhibitions and programs of the Museum reflect the diversity of political views held by latinos of the united states on the events and issues related to its history,” says the law. With the exception of the cuban exile community and, more recently, venezuela, the hispanic electorate tends to field a democrat, opting for Hillary Clinton in a 66% in 2016, and for Barack Obama 71% in 2012. In fact, the members of the so-called Hispanic Caucus in the Capitol are all democrats. Since then, there are deputies and senators republicans that are latino, but they are less than those of the other party.

however, the construction of this museum has not become something of the match. Prominent and influential republicans, such as Marco Rubio , have come to favor. In fact, it is a republican, John Cornyn , of Texas, who has been in charge of introducing the legislation in the Senate, who must vote soon. “ Nearly 40% of texans identify themselves as hispanic , and its history is an integral part of the history of Texas, and must be recognized and honored”, defended the senator in the press release that announced the law.

In fact, the first bill to study the creation of a Museum of Latin was introduced in the Capitol in 2003. In 2008, George W. Bush , before leaving the White House, created a commission of 23 members to study the viability of the museum. In 2011, the commission made public a report, which concluded that its establishment in Washington was feasible and desirable. Nine years he has spent in getting this proposal up to Capitol hill. Only the senators can avoid now that the project is delayed another nine.

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